Early TV, stage and film star hardly showed her face in what might be her most famous role
Maxine Stuart, long-time stage, motion picture and daytime drama actress, has died at the age of 94 of natural causes at her Beverly Hills home.
Stuart was nominated for an Emmy for her guest star role as the Piano Teacher in the “Coda” episode of “The Wonder Years” in 1989 and a Soap Opera Digest Award for her work in “The Young and the Restless.”
But perhaps her most iconic role was in the “Twilight Zone” episode entitled, “Eye of the Beholder,” where she played a woman undergoing surgery in a futile attempt to appear “normal,” and appeared wrapped in bandages until the very end of the episode when actress Donna Douglas (still using Stuart’s voice) was revealed under the bandages.
Stuart was a life member of The Actors Studio and a member of Theatre West.
Stuart was born Maxine Shlivek on June 28, 1918 in Deal, N.J., and got her start working on the New York stage and early TV programs such as “Playhouse 90,” the “Philco-Goodyear Television Theatre” and “Robert Montgomery Presents.” She gained prominence as a regular on the New York-based soap opera, “The Edge of Night,” portraying Grace O’Keefe, public stenographer.
In the late 1950s, Stuart and then-husband, actor Frank Maxwell — who went on to become president of AFTRA — relocated to Los Angeles. She appeared as a guest star in several series and had regular parts in “Slattery’s People,” opposite Richard Crenna, “Executive Suite,” with Mitch Ryan and Stephen Elliott, and “Hearts Afire” with John Ritter and Markie Post, and on soap operas “The Young and the Restless” and “General Hospital.”
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She also appeared in numerous motion pictures, including “The Days of Wine and Roses” with Jack Lemmon, “Private Benjamin” with Goldie Hawn, and her personal favorite, “Winning,” the film in which she shared an on-screen kiss with Paul Newman.
Stuart and Maxwell divorced in 1964 and in 1974 she married writer David Shaw, a union which lasted until Shaw’s death in 2007.
Stuart leaves behind daughters Chris Maxwell, Ellen Shaw Agress and Liz Shaw Baron, grandchildren Kate and Zak Baron, Emily and Adam Agress and great-grandson Jack Agress.